Pet Age’s Alexandra Wepner spoke with Tim Fabits of about the company’s decades-long history as it approaches a major milestone: its 20th anniversary. According to Fabits, with all of the lessons that come with so many years in business, the future of Redbarn Pet Products is just as bright as its history.
Alexandra Wepner: How did Redbarn Pet Products get its start?
Tim Fabits: Redbarn is very proud to celebrate our 20th anniversary this year. Back in 1996, lifelong friends Howard Bloxam and Jeff Baikie recognized a need for a healthy, wholesome dog food. This Rolled Food line continues to be a staple in the Redbarn portfolio to this day.
Alexandra: What are some features of the Rolled Food line and why do you think it’s seen such lasting success?
Tim: Our Rolled Food line became an immediate success. Pet parents found that limited ingredients led to digestibility ratings exceeding 93 percent. Without unnecessary filler, the pet can use more of the product and reduce stool volumes. We also led the industry by omitting sodium nitrite from our foods, as it is an ingredient used for color retention and has no other redeeming quality. Lastly, we use the lowest amount of sugar among our competitors, which has resonated strongly within the industry.
Alexandra: How has the industry changed in the 20 years since the company’s founding?
Tim: As Redbarn matured, so did the pet industry. Once known as a “cottage-industry,” people and companies took an interest in the well-being of their beloved companions. As the category expanded, the influx of innovation and financial backing helped to solidify their positions in the market. Today, the industry is filled with all sizes of companies throughout all facets of the business.
Alexandra: Has Redbarn changed over the years?
Tim: There have been many changes just within the last six years. Our biggest challenge was keeping up with demand in our previous facility in California. In 2010, we addressed this issue by purchasing a 330,000 square-foot facility in Great Bend, Kansas. This allowed us to increase capacity and improve logistics.
From a product perspective, we allocated significant resources to rebrand our products, calling out Made in the USA and all-natural whenever possible. These two factors weigh heavily in pet parents’ purchasing decisions. We wanted them to know that their voices were heard.
Alexandra: What has been the key to running a lasting, successful business in the pet industry?
Tim: In a word: quality. Redbarn takes great pride in the quality assurance protocols assembled over the past 20 years. Our philosophy to not cut corners offers a level of comfort to pet parents.
Alexandra: What does “high quality” mean to those behind Redbarn products?
Tim: High quality is not just a statement; it’s a mindset at Redbarn. Our ultimate goal is to increase bonding between pets and their parents. Offering clean, safe and long-lasting chews helps secure that objective. We understand that there will always be lower cost product available from other manufacturers and within the commodities market—”get what you pay for” could not be any more accurate. We also understand that higher quality often leads to increased ”chew time,” which only increases the value proposition for the pet parent. This philosophy is the back bone of our growth.
Alexandra: What are the ideas and ideals behind Redbarn Pet Products?
Tim: Our goal is to provide a high-quality, safe and long-lasting treating experience. Ultimately, if pet parents see their pet enjoying a treat for a sustained period of time, then the experience is viewed positively. Our mission is to exceed the expectations set forth by pet parents.
Alexandra: You released Redbarn Grain Free Cat Foods and Treats just two years ago. What prompted this decision, and do you plan on expanding in the cat category?
Tim: We saw an increasing need in the cat category for all-natural, grain-free and made in the USA products. As pet parents become more educated on sourcing and manufacturing, we felt it imperative to expand into the cat category.
Alexandra: Where do you see the company headed over the next 20 years?
Tim: It’s difficult to look forward 20 years and understand the future of the pet category. With the influx of online retailers, the landscape in specialty is changing. Ultimately, Redbarn will continue to support our retail and distribution partners with cutting-edge innovation, unparalleled quality and a treating experience that is second to none.